Efficient pre-collections processes are an essential part to any healthy medical office. The steps taken within your office at each step of the patient payment journey affects how timely payments are received and prevents sending accounts to outside collections.
If medical clinics want to receive the full amount of their billing, they must have an organized system in place.
What Your Office Can Do to Now to Make a Difference During Pre-Collections
- The front staff should be trained to ask for insurance or copay information even before a patient arrives for their appointment. Verifying insurance prior to the visit will allow the front desk to collect the correct amount for the patient pay portion of your services.
- Things such as, clear payment expectations and signage at the front in desk are small yet important details that are easily overlooked tools that make a difference for your office. Expectation setting, like requiring bills to be current before the next appointment, are critical and customary in other businesses.
- When sending in the billing information to insurance, it’s essential to submit things correctly the first time. Experts in the business continually stay updated on changes in medical billing. Being aware of those changes will help the bills be sent in a timely and accurate manner and generate payments. Utilizing a certified coder will help avoid coding issues that prolong the bill’s acceptance by insurance.
When You Must Send Billing to an Outside Collections Company
Failing to collect all of the patient information upfront or making mistakes during the medical billing process will affect the clinic’s ability to collect the patient portion. When the billing statements are delayed or your staff are not consistently following up, it’s harder to complete the billing process. The longer the client pay portion of the bill sits, the harder it is to collect.
Unpaid balances will eventually need to be sent to a collection agency. The clinic has already lost money in time and resources, and it’s likely collections will only be successful on 20-40% of the accounts received. Moreover, collections companies charge an average of 20-25% in fees, and up to 50% on accounts referred to attorneys for collections. Lastly, collections may have to negotiate with the patient, which often results in them accepting a lower amount.
To try and avoid losing revenue on incorrect or late bills, medical practices should organize their expectations of payment upfront and have an expert working on their billing and coding, and follow a structured and timely patient collections process.